Billionaire businessman, Sukanto Tanoto’s commitment to philanthropy can be traced almost as far back as his business career. In 1981, he and his wife, Tinah Bingei, established a small kindergarten in Besitang, North Sumatra, that would later become the independent multi-national family philanthropy organisation known as the Tanoto Foundation.
Sukanto’s vision for the foundation was to give back to the community in Indonesia and elsewhere by improving key areas such as education, health and nutrition, and personality development for future generations, starting from early childhood.
During its near four-decade-long history, the Tanoto Foundation has gifted over 20,000 scholarships, conducted a number of critical initiatives to uphold the quality of education and teaching in numerous communities, and financially supported medical research into diseases that plague much of the Asian continent.
In addition to its independent philanthropic initiatives, the foundation has also been involved in a number of productive collaborations that address a wide range of community issues. Listed below are a few of them.
- ‘Go Baby Go’ with Wahana Visi Indonesia
‘Go Baby Go’ is a newly launched collaboration between the Tanoto Foundation and Wahana Visi Indonesia under the Tanoto Foundation’s ‘Strengthening Indonesia’s early Generation by Accelerating Potential’ (SIGAP) programme, which focuses on preventing stunting among children in Indonesia and developing early childhood education.
‘Go Baby Go’ focuses on children aged 0 to 3 years, particularly those who come from families that are recognised as vulnerable, to provide them with an overall foundation for life as an adult.
As such, the programme also considers the capability of families to support their child’s nutrition, education, and look out for their holistic development.
“Go Baby Go is a testament of Tanoto Foundation’s continuous support to early childhood education and development in Indonesia,” said Global CEO of the Tanoto Foundation J. Satrijo Tanudjojo. “We hope Indonesian children can enjoy optimal growth so they will be ready to attend their next phase of education.” He added that, “It is in line with Tanoto Foundation’s mission in which we believe that quality education accelerates equal opportunity creation.”
National Director of Wahana Visi Indonesia Doseba T. Sinay said, “We expect this pilot project to produce a best practice guide which will be replicable throughout Indonesia. We appreciate Tanoto Foundation’s attention towards the advancement of Indonesian children’s health. This level of attention makes us optimistic that we can continue to work on improving Indonesian children’s overall wellbeing.”
‘Go Baby Go’ is currently active in eight Posyandu (Child Integrated Health Post) in the sub-districts of Kenjeran and Simokerto in Surabaya, East Java. Its immediate goal is to support a minimum of 320 children in the 0-3-year demographic.
- Nutritional Status Map with SMERU Research Institute
That Tanoto Foundation recently collaborated with the SMERU Research Institute to learn more about the nutritional status of children who are under the age of five and from the sub-districts and villages of Indonesia.
Among the types of data collected were:
- HAZ based on height and age
- WAZ based on weight and age
- WHZ based on height and weight
The data collected was added to a ‘Nutritional Status Map’ showing the nutritional status of children under five years of age in selected districts.
Findings from the data indicated that the nutritional status of children under five would differ from one district to the next with no common denominator between villages with a higher number of nutrition issues.
That said, other factors such as awareness and education among parents of toddlers, jobs of parents, sanitation, and availability of clean water, were all identified as having some form of influence on the nutritional status of the children.
The collaboration between the Tanoto Foundation and SMERU assisted the Indonesian government in developing better programmes and revising stunting prevention policies toward more efficient use of funding and other resources.
- Developing Future Leaders with University of Indonesia
The Tanoto Foundation has worked together with the University of Indonesia since 2006 to use leadership training and the provision of scholarships to develop future global leaders from Indonesia.
To that end, the Tanoto Foundation set up TELADAN, a scholarship and training programme which, according to the Tanoto Foundation, is designed to “a scholarship and training programme designed to equip the next generation of Indonesia’s leaders with the skills they need to make a meaningful contribution to the places in which they live and work.” Participants of the programmes are eligible to receive scholarships that cover the full cost of their tuition as well as a monthly allowance.
So far, the programme has benefitted over 500 students from the University of Indonesia.
- Developing Future Leaders and Improving Tertiary Education with University of Gadjah Mada
The University of Indonesia was not the only major university to partner with the Tanoto Foundation’s Teladan programme.
In 2006, the University of Gadjah Mada also came on board with the foundation’s initiative to develop future global leaders through leadership training and scholarship.
In 2010, UGM collaborated with the Tanoto Foundation to improve the quality of human resources, particularly in the Faculty of Forestry, upon completion of the Faculty of Forestry’s Administration and Post-Graduate Building.
In 2019, UGM received IDR 500 million in endowment funds from the Tanoto Foundation to fund scholarships for their students. So far, over 500 UGM students have benefitted from funding provided by the Tanoto Foundation.
- Developing Future Leaders and Establishing the Forestry Information Centre with IPB University
Another major collaborator of the Tanoto Foundation’s Teladan Programme is IPB University.
Since 2007, the Tanoto Foundation has been working with IPB to support the growth of applied research in Indonesia through the Tanoto Student Research Award (TSRA).
In 2015, the Tanoto Foundation collaborated with IPB to establish the Tanoto Forestry Information Centre (TFIC), an information centre for forestry that would be a valuable resource for researchers, academics and university students from all over the world.
The three-storey building, which covers an area of 1500 square metres, contains international journals of forestry studies which also complete the collections of those found at IPB.